A producer facing financial problems hours/days before the release of his film is not new. The last-minute tensions have always existed. But with the industry on the road to transparency and the Indian media getting more and more aggressive with each passing day [the journos are trying to outdo each other when it comes to breaking news!], the industry dealings are no longer confined to the industry limits. They are out in the open, in dailies, tabloids, weeklies… making television headlines after every one hour.
The uncertainty over the release of Boney Kapoor's biggie NO ENTRY made big news. That the film wouldn't make it to theatres on August 26 spread like wild fire, even as Boney was involved in serious discussions with his creditors. There was panic within the industry. The distributors weren't sure whether the film would reach theatres. The exhibitors [movieplexes] were completely clueless as well.
As a result, when the delivery of prints commenced from Wednesday night/Thursday morning, the industry realized that the film would make it in the scheduled week, although the prints wouldn't reach everywhere on Friday.
That's precisely what happened!
The prints of NO ENTRY didn't reach major centres of the country till Saturday, a fact that was highlighted on all news channels. So much so that Anil Kapoor was forced to call a hurried press conference on Friday afternoon to present things in the right perspective: The film had been released in some parts of the country and that the remaining theatres would be able to screen the film by Friday night/Saturday.
But the harm had been done by then. Confused that the release had been cancelled/called off, not many people sauntered into a movieplex to watch NO ENTRY on Friday. You may find this unbelievable, but the Friday collections of a biggie like NO ENTRY ranged between 30%-50% almost everywhere. The dull opening of NO ENTRY did catch the industry unawares, although everyone agreed that it had everything to do with the confusing signals sent out [vis-à-vis its release], not its merits.
Saturday onwards, the film gathered momentum and by Saturday evening, the verdict was loud and clear: NO ENTRY had stormed into people's hearts.
There's no denying that the cancellation of shows and the uncertainty took a heavy toll on its box-office takings in its opening weekend at several places, but what went in its favor was the fact that the moviegoers were truly enjoying the film. Had the Friday reports been negative, NO ENTRY would've sunk on Friday night itself. Fortunately, the strong reports pouring in from everywhere gave hope to its distributors and exhibitors.
Although most films crash Monday onwards, NO ENTRY has been rock-steady. The film has been grossing 80% + collections almost everywhere, which is a rarity these days.
The second release of the week, IQBAL, had a slow and steady rise over the weekend. Nagesh Kukunoor's much-acclaimed film opened to an astonishingly low 15%-25% on Friday, climbed to 60% by Saturday evening and was 70% + on Sunday at major multiplexes.
The glowing reviews in the media and the all-round appreciation by the discerning moviegoers helped the film consolidate its status over the weekend at metros mainly. The strong word of mouth helped tremendously and despite a huge opposition like NO ENTRY, this Subhash Ghai-produced film was attracting ample footfalls at multiplexes.
Monday onwards, the collections of IQBAL continued to be steady towards the evening shows. Keeping in mind the budget of the film, IQBAL should emerge as a profitable venture thanks to the revenue generated from the non-theatrical rights [like home video, TV stations and satellite rights]. A film like IQBAL has a huge market from non-theatrical avenues and Mukta Searchlight Films should add a neat profit to their kitty.
BHAGGMATI - THE QUEEN OF FORTUNES was a commercial and critical disappointment from the word 'Go'. The film opened to near-empty halls and found a mere handful of takers in the following days.
THIS WEEK, LAST YEAR
If the moviegoers were thirsting for Salman in the second half of NO ENTRY this weekend, the moviegoers were yearning to catch more of Salman last year as well [August 27-29]. Revathy's PHIR MILENGE opened to a lukewarm start all over, despite the presence of Salman, Abhishek and Shilpa.
On the other hand, DHOOM, starring three not-too-impressive names [then], took a flying start at the ticket window. The film worked and how! It catapulted Abhishek and John to the big league overnight, while the hitherto unknown facet of Uday caught everyone unaware [Uday carried off the light scenes with flourish]. Dhoom macha diya DHOOM ne!